Vercors

Tagged: Art | Author

Pseudonym used by French artist, illustrator and author Jean Marcel Adolphe Bruller (1902-1991) for his written work from 1942 on, including his first novel, Le silence de la mer (1942 chap; trans Cyril Connolly as Put Out the Light 1944 chap); to publish this he founded the French Resistance press Les Éditions de Minuit. After the experience of World War Two in the Resistance he wrote several moral fables in a manner influenced by Albert Camus (1913-1960). Les Animaux dénaturés (1952; trans Rita Barisse as You Shall Know Them 1953; vt Borderline 1954; vt The Murder of the Missing Link 1958) deals with the discovery of the apis, a new species of ape-man (see Apes as Human), immediately subject to capitalist exploitation (see Race in SF)directed by Saul David. The human father of an apis infant deliberately murders the child to provide a test case in which he hopes to establish the rapidly Uplifted species' claim to human status; he wins, and is acquitted of murder as the act preceded the declaration of humanity. The novel was loosely adapted for cinema as Skullduggery (1970) directed by Saul David. Colères (1956; trans Rita Barisse as The Insurgents 1957) deals with the search for Immortality by a man who attains it at great personal cost. Sylva (1961; trans Rita Barisse 1962) is an inversion of David Garnett's Lady into Fox (1922): in this case a vixen is changed into a woman by an English bachelor but eventually reverts.

Vercors's postwar allegorical fictions, though thought-generating and occasionally moving, never challenged the fame of his first novel, which is, somewhat unfairly, the only one for which he is well remembered outside France. As an illustrator – which work he signed as Bruller – he showed a rollicking good humour; his illustrations for André Maurois's Patapoufs et Filifers (1930 chap; trans Norman Denny as Fattypuffs and Thinifers 1941) appear in both French and English versions. [JC]

see also: Suspended Animation.

Jean Marcel Adolphe Bruller

born Paris: 26 February 1902

died Paris: 11 June 1991

works (selected)

  • Les Animaux dénaturés (Paris: Albin Michel, 1952) [binding unknown/]
  • Colères (Paris: Albin Michel, 1956) [binding unknown/]
    • The Insurgents (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1957) [trans by Rita Barisse of the above: hb/Richard Powers]
  • Sylva (Paris: Grasset, 1961) [binding unknown/]
    • Sylva (New York: G P Putnam's Sons, 1962) [trans by Rita Barisse of the above: hb/Jason Kirby]
  • Zoo; ou L'Assassin philanthrope, théâtre ["Zoo; Or, the Philanthropic Assassin"] (Paris: Magnard, 2003) [play: first performed 1963: binding unknown/]

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